Saturdays Artists Series: Joaquín Sorolla

The painter Joaquin Sorolla - The Collection - Museo Nacional del Prado

A master of colours, an expert at mixing colours to achieve their brightest effect and a master of the brush-stroke to create the specific images filled with light and movement that characterised most of his work. This was part of the genius of Joaquín Sorolla…

Joaquín Sorolla 004.jpg

Sorolla became an orphan at the tender age of two. He was adopted, along with his sister Concha, by his uncle. Sorolla, even as a young child, showed an inclination towards painting, therefore at the age of twelve, his uncle enrolled him in an art academy, la Escuela de Artesanos de Valencia, to learn the skills needed to be an artist.

Joaquín Sorolla García | Pinturas impresionistas, Pinturas de sorolla,  Pintura de retratos

Joaquín Sorolla Bastida was born in Valencia, (my city), on February 27, 1863, and died in Cercedilla, on August 10, 1923. He left behind more than 2200 paintings, making him a very prolific Spanish artist. Sorolla is considered an Impressionist, par excellence, a Post-Impressionist and a Luminist painter. He is one of our most beloved and respected painters and among our people, the Valencianos, he is a symbol of our achievement in the arts.

From 1883 on, Sorolla begins to develop his art, first as a “realist” painter. He visited the Museo del Prado in Madrid and studied the works of Velazquez. From there he won a medal in the “Exposicion Regional de Valencia”. In 1884, he finally achieves great fame after winning a medal in the Exposición Nacional. Because of his success in Valencia, the provincial authorities awarded him a salary and sent him to Rome where he studied Classical and Renaissance art. In Rome he was able to study the work of many great artists by visiting the many museums and as well make many contacts with other artists.

In 1885 he moved to Paris where he was introduced to Impressionism and where he added a further dimension to all he had learned in Rome. He began to vary his thematic structures and also his style. And the most important aspect of his life in France was that he was introduced to and became involved with the vanguard of the European artists of the time, such as John Singer Sargent, Giovanni Boldini y Anders Zorn.

In 1889 Sorolla and his family moved to Madrid where he was already considered a great artist.

By 1905, Sorolla began to make a lot of money from his art. He became a rich man. Continued artistic and financial success came from his 1909 exhibition in New York, where he gained unprecedented recognition. In 1911 his paintings were exhibited at the Museum of Art of St. Louis and the Art Institute of Chicago. This added greatly to his fame and status as a world recognised artist.

In 1932 his house in Madrid was converted into the Museo Sorolla (The Sorolla Museum).

(Sorolla, the painter of “light”)

I hope you have liked this edition and that you will research further the work of this great Spanish painter. Here in Valencia, if you are around, you can still catch the exhibition at the Centre Cultural Bancaixa which will be available until October.

I will post a companion photo-montage…and musical…video with some of the most iconic works by Joaquín Sorolla. I think you will enjoy it.

And as always, I ask for your comments, your opinions and anything else you would like to say about Sorolla, or about art. I have been trying to develop an ongoing dialogue with artists and with lovers of art and hoping that it would spread throughout the blogs that deal with art. It is important that artists form communities where there can be an interchange of ideas and the development of new ones. So, please, if you are an artist, join in…



  1. Sheree · September 5, 2020

    Fascinating and interesting series introducing many of us to new artists.

  2. Brad Osborne · September 5, 2020

    A new artist to me, Francisco, as I have never seen his work before. His talent is obvious and his coastal home is reflected in many of his paintings. I do agree that he uses light in a lovely way, but it is the movement captured in his paintings that most draws my eye. In his landscapes you can feel the breeze and taste the salt air. What a gift that his talent was recognized and encouraged from a young age. A local artist that Valencianos can be proud of!

    • Francisco Bravo Cabrera · September 5, 2020

      Yes, we are proud of him, for sure…thank you so much Brad, I am glad you have discovered an artist yet unknown and this is one of the famous ones from Europe…he is considered the painter of the “light” that is why he was also counted among the “Luminists” which were mostly American painters…take good care my brother and I hope you enjoy a most lovely weekend!

      • Brad Osborne · September 5, 2020

        Thank you, my friend, I hope you have a great weekend also!

  3. Pingback: Joaquín Sorolla: On the Sands at Zarauz Beach (1910) – At Sunnyside – Where Truth and Beauty Meet

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